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New GPhC guidance for online pharmacy

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The GPhC has today published new guidance for pharmacies relating to patients use of online pharmacies. This is following a consultation which looked into how the profession can best ensure that the public can access medicines online safely.

Some of the main points are:

Making sure medicines are clinically appropriate for patients – online pharmacies will have to make sure:

  • there are robust processes in place to carry out identity checks on people obtaining medicines
  • the pharmacy team can identify requests for medicines that are inappropriate, including by being able to identify multiple orders to the same address or orders using the same payment details
  • the pharmacy websites do not allow a patient to choose a prescription-only medicine and its quantity before there has been an appropriate consultation with a prescriber

Further safeguards for certain categories of prescription only medicines – further safeguards will have to be in place before supplying the following categories of medicines to make sure that they are clinically appropriate:

  • antimicrobials (antibiotics) 
  • medicines liable to abuse, overuse or misuse, or where there is a risk of addiction and ongoing monitoring is important. For example, opiates, sedatives, laxatives, pregabalin and gabapentin
  • medicines that require ongoing monitoring or management. For example, those used to treat diabetes, asthma, epilepsy and mental health conditions
  • non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products, such as Botox

For further information, please see the full press release on the website: